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How Child Custody Is Handled In Legal Separation

How Child Custody Is Handled In Legal Separation

In determining child custody arrangements, the best interests of the child are the primary consideration. With this guiding principle in mind, topics like parental responsibility, custody rights, and other related topics like living arrangements, healthcare, and financial support for the child are included in the custody agreement. 

Before comparing the best ways to approach your child custody arrangement, it’s important to note that there are different types of custody arrangements. In these examples, physical custody refers to where the child primarily lives, and legal custody (decision-making authority) refers to essential welfare decisions like education, health, and other basic lifestyle necessities. 

  • Sole Custody: One parent has complete physical custody and decision-making authority, while the other parent may receive visitation rights.
  • Joint Custody: Both parents share decision-making authority, and in most situations, equal physical custody with shared living arrangements.

Which Important Factors Can Affect the Child Custody Decision?

Again, with your child’s best interests in focus, here are some variables that can affect the outcome of your child custody arrangement. Factors such as parental health (general health and mental health), home environment stability, child preference (if they are of sufficient age/maturity), and other important considerations like a history of neglect or abuse can all influence the final arrangement. 

How these factors influence the final custody arrangement also depends on the route you take to acquire your legal separation. 

If you choose the non-confrontational route of Divorce Mediation, you can actively shape the custody arrangement details. With the help of a neutral, third-party advisor, you and your spouse will create a custody plan that accounts for all legal custody requirements, the best interests of your child, and what’s best for each parent. If you and your spouse can agree to discuss the terms and are willing to reach a compromise, mediation is the best way to reach a decision that honors the wishes and needs of everyone involved. 

Alternatively, If you or your spouse cannot agree through mediation, you will present your separate cases in court. With the court route, the judge will make the final custody decisions based on factors related to child wellbeing and parental support. This option is more expensive and can take months to reach a final custody decision. 

Other Reasons to Choose Mediation Instead

With your child’s best interests and a mutually-agreeable arrangement for the desired goal, our unbiased mediation is designed to minimize stress and reduce legal separation complications. 

Mediation is appropriate for the majority of legal separation cases, and as a non-confrontational approach to child custody arrangements, mediation can help to:

  • Save you money: Mediation is significantly less expensive than traditional litigation
  • Save you time: We can complete the entire process in a few sessions
  • Keep the focus on the child: Instead of fighting each other, working together to create a plan often results in better outcomes for your child

For more information, contact our experts at Long Island Divorce Mediation today! 

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